Morning briefs: UA retirement; Kochs at play | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 4, 2013

Morning briefs: UA retirement; Kochs at play

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 6:16 AM

The week begins slowly. A couple of items to note this morning:

click to enlarge RICHARD HUDSON
 * UA LOBBYIST TO RETIRE: The University of Arkansas reports that Richard Hudson, vice chancellor for government and community relations (AKA UA lobbyist), will retire July 31, the day before his 70th birthday.  He's a genial and soft-spoken representative of an institution with immense clout and the occasional emotional controversy to confront.

* HOW LOW WILL THE KOCHS GO? The New York Times reports today, as several others have, about the effort by the Koch billions-funded Americans for Prosperity political pressure group to influence races for city council in tiny Coralville, Iowa. There, the issue is property taxes. The Kochs own a lot of property.

The article notes:

Tuesday’s race here is not the only one that has drawn the interest of Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by Charles and David Koch. Local chapters have been involved in property tax fights in Kansas, Ohio and Texas, the group says.

In January, the group successfully fought an increase in a food and beverage tax in Fremont, Neb. And last spring, it opposed a tax increase in Gahanna, in central Ohio. Voters rejected the tax measure in May, but the City Council has put it back on Tuesday’s ballot.

The Kochs play at all levels in Arkansas, too, of course. They pushed to elect a slate of Republicans to the Arkansas Senate, though not enough to stop the Republican-supported passage of a hybrid version of Obamacare. Their paid emissaries, who've included the wife of state Rep. Nate Bell, weigh in regularly on any number of Koch-favored issues. The group has been deeply involved in the fight to prevent land protection rules in the Lake Maumelle watershed, a fight still proceeding before a study group appointed following a pitched battle to keep the Quorum Court from enacting land use measures.

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